The PEdAL ED Shawa Jersey is a waterproof race-fit jersey suited to going fast in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. If your riding style and climate suit, it could be a good choice, but the pockets and rear hem are a let-down, and it's not exactly cheap.
Designed in Japan and made in Italy from a dual-layer fabric, which is basically a waterproof and windproof outer bonded to a baselayer, the Shawa is a stiff fabric as you might expect. Fitted with a waterproof zip, this means the chest doesn't sit perfectly flat the way a more compliant fabric does.
At 183cm and 73kg with a 94cm chest, I'm on the borderline between XS and S according to PEdAL ED's size chart – which is a first for me in cycling apparel. Wearing a size Medium for the review, I found the fit under the arms in particular to be restrictive when standing, coming right once on the bike. I'm a fan of race-cut garments, and the Shawa is just that, but I'd imagine being pretty squeezed in a small let alone an XS (it's not me in the pics).
The cut of the neck is excellent – high enough to keep rain and wind at bay, yet just loose enough to allow friction-free shoulder checks. The zip has a garage at the top, as well as a wind flap in the upper five inches. Given the zip is waterproof, I'm not sure what the flap does apart from snag on the rather small-tagged zip on the way up.
The sleeves are – hallelujah – very generous. On the medium they cover the entire bicep and end just an inch above the inside of a bent elbow. Laser-cut with a grip strip inside, they stayed put over the matching Shawa arm warmers (review to come).
The rear hem is quite high, ending just above my tailbone – a Castelli Gabba over-the-arse cut this is definitely not – so you'd want a mudguard, Ass-Saver or waterproof bibs to protect you from spray.
Construction is of high quality as you'd expect for a £160 jersey, with all seams including around the neck and pockets being tape-sealed. Accessed from the inside of the jersey there's a 6 x 4in pocket that mirrors the right-hand outer pocket, sized to take a wallet or large phone – if it were waterproof, as it's going to get drenched in salty sweat. Which brings me on to what was the only real disappointment of the Shawa...
The three pockets across the back are high up the back and at 7 x 4in not overly generous. I needed contortionist-levels of flexibility to get anything in or out. I like to document my rides with photos, and found it hard to easily remove my phone for piccies. It's in a slim waterproof case, sure, but it's a 4in-screen iPhone SE, so not exactly on-trend in today's world where 6in screens are commonplace. Getting the phone out and back in again was usually a two-handed affair, not good on wet roads, with gloves on.
The pockets are made from a different fabric to the jersey, but are very tight – there was no way my go-to Endura FS-260 Pro SL Shell was getting in any of them. I managed to get my beloved Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket in there, just.
Of course, why would you want to carry a waterproof or windproof shell in the pocket of a waterproof jersey, apart from as an extra layer for long descents? But the restriction extends to anything you want to carry. For five years I've schlepped a 28mm inner tube, tiny multi-tool and a Tubeless Repair Kit around in a small zipped pouch made from recycled inner tubes. It's been in and out of the centre pocket of many dozens of jerseys, summer and winter, over that time.
The Shawa's pockets are the first encounter where I've had to remove the multi-tool in order to get a comfortable fit on the bike. Basically, they are so tight the pouch was noticeably uncomfortable against my spine when leaning forward on the bike. And with the pouch in the pocket, I could feel the rear hem not sitting flush against my lower back.
Being a wet-weather garment there are nice tiny cutouts at the bottom of each pocket to allow water to escape, if it can find its way in. Rounding out the pocketage is a zipped valuables pocket accessed from the side of the right-hand pocket, large enough for an iPhone 5 in a case. The valuables pocket itself is inside the jacket, unlike most valuables pockets which are sewn onto the outside of the right-hand pocket, so a nice feature if you wanted to keep a phone in it that didn't take well to bending if the right-hand pocket was stuffed full.
So far, a bit of a mixed waterproof-bag. The raison d'etre of the Shawa is going fast in shoulder-season dry-wetness, and in that respect it's a winner.
My first foray was out for two and a half hours (at 85% of max heart rate – upper zone 4) in 3-8°C, overcast with no wind, wearing two merino baselayers. In this combo I stayed perfectly warm, which is no small achievement given my crapulous arm/hand circulation. I ended the ride with a fair bit of moisture build-up in the merino, but given how hard I'd been riding it didn't feel uncomfortable. Certainly not 'boil-in-the-bag'.
The next ride was properly Flandrian – an hour's blast around mucky Perthshire farm lanes in the tail end of the 'Beast From The East' – or what we Scotsfolk call 'weather'. Same zone, with 3°C worth of constant rain, wind and sleet.
The Shawa doesn't feature a DWR coating, so it initially beaded water then quickly wet out – it's no Gore-Tex Shakedry. With only one baselayer underneath this time, my arms were initially cold and didn't didn't warm up but my fingers stayed okay. The merino felt damp, but not overly so for 85% effort for an hour.
The neck allowed shoulder checks without moving, yet remained sealed against wind/rain using a Buff. Safe to say I was motivated to press on – had I been going just a little slower or had to stop for a mechanical I'd have suffered mightily.
Probably the best use of the Shawa is for longer rides in cold-to-middling temperatures where it's likely you'll get wet. A memorable 100k started out at zero degrees, with a lightweight merino mesh, a thicker 200gsm merino, and the Shawa plus its matching arm warmers. I could get away with this because of decent sunshine and a lack of wind, plus some hefty climbs at the front of the ride to warm up.
Settling in to bagging a glen or two with the temperature slowly climbing towards double digits, with the odd shower reminding me this was Scotland in spring, the Shawa did the job. I remained comfortable, felt dry, not sweaty, and focused on the task in hand.
The Shawa has me conflicted though. I really wanted to like it, but thinking back on other shoulder-season waterproof jerseys I've tried recently like the excellent Endura FS-260 Pro SL Classics jersey for a tenner less at full price, I'd consider other options (yes, the Endura isn't tape sealed, but that's a minor niggle). Technically, the Shawa is fine, but the issues with the pockets and lack of a dropped rear hem for spray protection let the package down.
Well-made waterproof for fast rides, let down by poor pocket design and a high rear hem
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road.cc test report
Make and model: PEdAL ED Shawa Jersey
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
It's for going fast in cold, wet weather.
PEdAL ED says: "The Shawa is the ultimate newborn from a generation of Jerseys specifically created to protect from rain and wind and still mainting the particular fit of a Jersey. What makes the Shawa totally different from the rest is its special two-layers construction.
"Its inner layer is made from our Ultralight baselayer's fabric to ensure extra breathability while the external layer keeps you dry and warm with its waterproof and windproof membrane.
"The Shawa has been developed in collaboration with the riders from JLT Condor Professional Team to give a solution for their need of a Jersey-fit with short sleeves item during autumn and spring races and long trainings.
"The internal taped seams ensure the waterproof characteristic of the Shawa and the internal pocket is perfect for a smartphone and wallet storage keeping them dry during rain showers."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
It's a multi-layer waterproof and windproof fabric with tape-sealed seams. 85% Polyester 15%Elast
The build quality is great – can't fault it.
It's pretty darn good at keeping wind and rain at bay.
It's made very well, and I have no reason to suspect it wouldn't last.
Across the shoulders and arms, fine. My lower back was exposed, even with stuff in the pockets, which isn't so good.
Not really accurate – I imagine I'd have to have returned a recommended XS/S.
It's pretty light for what it does.
Incorporating 'comfort' to include 'things in pockets', it's not so good.
For the price there are better options, like the Endura FS-260 Pro SL Classics.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Washed up fine, which for a jersey with a white pocket is something.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For going fast and staying comfortable, super. Not so good as a package where you need to carry and access stuff easily.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit of the arms, neck and shoulders.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The pockets and the rear hem.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, but the pockets annoyed me.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not really.
Use this box to explain your overall score
At £160 it's pricey, and so even with the great shoulder/arm fit, waterproofness and breathability, it's hard to forgive the issues found with the pockets and the rear hem not being low enough.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling